Is Bingo a Thing of the Past?
The generation that brought you Woodstock is about to dramatically change the way we think of retirement living. Being raised in a time where raising your consciousness meant protesting civil and constitutional rights, burning your bra and resisting the draft, baby boomers are bound not to take retirement lying down.
With nearly 78 million people born between 1946 and 1964, boomers are quickly taking their place among retirees. And, as they do, they will be changing expectations as to what flies when it comes to activities. Move over Bingo. The Boomers are here!
More “Active” Activities
Boomers today are looking forward to an active retirement, provided their health and resources hold out. Exercise and sports, such as aerobics, weight-bearing workouts, tennis and golf are just a few of the activities they plan to do as they age. Not only are these activities good for their health, they help them to feel younger and more vital as well.
In addition to regular exercise, the boomer generation will likely also be more adventurous in their twilight years. Don’t be surprised to see them white water rafting, sky diving, skiing and paragliding, if they are able. Once their kids are on their own, boomers will have the time to experience some of the things they may have missed out on in their youth.
A Second Career
Many boomers also see their retirement years as an opportunity to explore their passions. One way in which to do that is to explore a second career. Entrepreneurship is one way. Other ways may include translating their experience into teaching or consulting. In this way, they can use their life experience to help others and feel like they are making a contribution to the society they will be leaving behind.
Group and Solitary Activities
Joining book clubs and taking college courses are another way to stay active and mentally engaged. As with other activities, retirement years offer opportunities to do some of the things they missed out on, such as completing a degree or traveling with friends and family.
Staying involved in their communities is also paramount for giving purpose to their retirement years. Like teaching or consulting, it is a way seniors can give back to their communities now that they have time. There are so many ways to volunteer! Whether it is walking dogs at the local shelter, tutoring local school children, or helping out at the local art museum, there is something out there for anyone looking for a way to be involved.
What Does This Mean for The Future of Assisted Living Facilities?
As the population of those living in Assisted Living facilities changes, so, too will the facilities have to adapt to their changing needs.
In order to attract the aging Baby Boomers, facilities will need to introduce those types of activities that are of interest to this population. These may include:
• On-site college level courses and educational programs: With a more educated and experienced clientele, facilities will need to offer a higher level of learning activities to keep their residents satisfied. College courses or elder hostel programs that offer a shorter series of lectures may be offered. In addition, these programs frequently offer day or weekend field trips that can keep elders engaged and active.
• Weight-training and exercise programs: While chair exercises still have their place, adding weight training and other group exercise opportunities can provide additional incentives for boomers considering assisting living options. These options do not necessarily mean investing in fancy gym equipment or a barrage of bar bells. However, bringing in a personal trainer who specializes in the needs of older adults may provide an opportunity for residents to learn a new activity while also improving their balance and strength. In addition, exercise classes that may include aerobics or Tai Chi are an additional appeal.
• Clubs for a variety of activities: An easy opportunity is to add clubs for residents with specific interests. There are book clubs, investment clubs, bridge clubs, bunco clubs, and even travel clubs, which provide a range of social activities for seniors.
• Expanded Entertainment and Dining Options: Baby Boomers have become accustomed to having lots of choices when it comes to entertainment and dining. Offering more options for eating will go a long way to attract residents from this age category. One consideration might be multiple food stations where diners can select from various culinary options, such as Asian foods, salad bars, seafood options or a grill.
While many new options are available, that doesn’t mean facilities should throw out the bingo cards. There is still a place for Bingo and board games. It just isn’t the same place that it used to be.